It’s always exciting to find someone new with talent, whom you can tell is still starting but has a bright future ahead. Kirbee Lawler is one of those finds, and even though she’s in Australia, the wonderful internet network allowed me to have a small talk with her, regarding her Wizard of Oz series.
Tell me a little bit about yourself, what made you go into this particular type of illustration?
I am 21 years old, live in Sydney, Australia, and have been drawing for most of my life. I have always used drawing as a way of escaping from the everyday world and have always been fascinated with the idea of bringing things to life. I am also fascinated with detail and textures, and try to experiment with lots of different textures throughout my illustrations. At the moment my current texture fascinations would have to be wood, fur and hair. I love creating highly detailed pieces and people are often suprised that i draw my wood textures by hand and that they aren’t just a photoshop effect!
I guess i found my way into this sort of illustration as i have always loved Beatrix Potter’s illustrations and the way that when i was a kid they looked exactly like photos and were so realistic to me, so i have tried to re-create that in a style that is realistic with some unrealistic elements. I would like to think of my illustrations as snapshots of my characters as i also love old portraits and photography.
What inspires you? Who are your favorite artists or do you have role models of any sort?
I am inspired by many different things and not all of them have anything to do with art! I love old photographs and hearing the story behind them as well as old cameras (i love thinking about the people that would have held the camera before me and the photos that the camera has taken).
I love fashion magazines like Lula and also read magazines like Juxtapoz, Frankie and Yen for inspiration. I have a huge pile of magazines waiting to be pulled apart so i can have an inspiration folder made up of all my favourite parts of these magazines, but i just cant bring myself to pulling them apart!
I also find the internet is an amazing source of inspiration. Information is so easy to come about these days and i love reading about things and seeing images that i know i wouldn’t have found if it weren’t for the internet.
I am also inspired by the people around me and everyday life…i like to think that nearly everything can inspire someone to do something, it is just the way we look at things!
I have lots of favourite artists, these include Mark Ryden, Kukula, Fafi as well as lots of Australian artists like Kareena Zerefos, Bec Winnel and Courtney Brims. I also love finding art by people that are lesser known and feeling as if the art is just for you. I am really liking the work by Art and Ghosts at the moment…I was looking at her artworks yesterday and she has inspired me to have a go at some digital painting..so keep an eye out later in the year to see how that works out!
Because i am also a Graphic Designer i am also really inspired by design in general, and i really love typography that is almost illustration. Jessica Hische is an awesome typographer/illustrator that really inspires me in the graphic design sense.
What made you want to tackle the Wizard of Oz? The “trendy” tale to focus on, right now would be Alice (with the Burton movie and everything), so why the Wizard?
The Wizard of Oz has always been a story that i have really loved, and to me the themes are very similar to Alice in Wonderland (which is my favourite book). The Wizard of Oz is about a journey that Dorothy takes because she is unhappy in the world that she is in, and i feel that Dorothy and Alice are very similar because of this. Although their journeys may take sightly different paths along the way i think in the end that they both discover that there really is ‘no place like home’. I think that the Wizard of Oz is also looked over a lot as being an important tale and with the 110th anniversary of the book i thought that now would be the best time to showcase a modern twist on a book that is really timeless.
When deciding on the theme for my new series i did actually consider doing Alice in Wonderland, but i felt, although not always obvious, that most of my illustrations do have Wonderland themes about them, so decided that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz would be my next series theme.
I know you’d have liked to have lived through the eighties! Why?
I guess that to me times gone by are just really interesting. The 80’s was a time of change, but i guess that could be said about all of the eras before that! I am actually starting to think that i would have loved to live in the 1940’s or to go back even further than that and live in the Victorian Era. I just love things from a time gone by and i am fascinated by the people that lived before us. That being said i am loving living in this age! There are so many opportunities out there and it is great that we can live in such a modern world, but at the end of the day, give me a basic pencil and paper and i will be happy!